Chief inspector appointed to ‘champion users of GP and dental services’

A former head of the Royal College of GPs has been appointed the first Chief Inspector of General Practice.

Professor Steve Field joins the Care Quality Commission (CQC) from NHS England where he was deputy national medical director responsible for addressing health inequalities. In his new role, he will “champion the interests of people using GP and dental services”, the CQC said.

Prof Field will oversee the CQC’s inspection and regulation of all providers of primary care, including public, private and independent sectors.

He will also introduce a new ratings system to identify both good and poor care.

Prof Field said: “I am thrilled at being appointed. I see this as a wonderful opportunity to highlight what’s good in general practice and dentistry, and to shine a light on what isn’t.

“It’s an opportunity to make sure that all organisations are encouraged to live up to the standards of the best.

“I have had a long-standing commitment to address health inequalities and this role will enable me to ensure that primary medical services put this increasingly important issue high on their agendas.

“It will also allow me to focus on making sure that people receive health and care services that are integrated.”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “In Steve Field we have found a formidable Chief Inspector of General Practice who will speak up for patients without fear or favour.

“Steve will have the power and authority to judge how well each practice is serving patients, help us to celebrate the best practices, and take tough action where standards aren’t up to scratch.”